A Remedy and an Oath

Adam Schiff closed the prosecution’s case yesterday, calling on the Senate to remove an unfit president from office:

“They gave you a remedy and they meant for you to use it. They gave you an oath and they meant for you to observe it”.ย 

I couldn’t find a complete transcript of his closing statement. Here’s some of it (the complete video is below):

The Republican party of Nixonโ€™s time broke in to the [Democratic National Committee] and the president covered it up. Nixon too abused the power of his office to gain an unfair advantage over his opponent. But in Watergate, he never sought to coerce a foreign power to aid his reelection, nor did he sacrifice our national security in such a palpable and destructive way as withholding aid from an ally at war. And he certainly did not engage in the wholesale obstruction of Congress or justice that we have seen this president commit.

The facts of President Clintonโ€™s misconduct pale in comparison to Nixon’s and do not hold a candle to [this president’s]. Lying about an affair is morally wrong and when under oath it is a crime, but it had nothing to do with his duties in office. The process being the same, the facts of President Trumpโ€™s misconduct being far more destructive than either past president, what then accounts for the disparate result in bipartisan support for his removal? What has changed?

The short answer is we have changed. The members of Congress have changed. For reasons as varied as the stars, the members of this body and ours in the House are now far more accepting of the most serious misconduct of a president as long as it is a president of oneโ€™s own party. And that is a trend most dangerous for our country….

It must have come as a shock, a pleasant shock, to this president that our norms and institutions would prove to be so weak. The independence of the Justice Department and its formerly proud Office of Legal Counsel now mirror legal tools at the president’s disposal to investigate enemies or churn out helpful opinions not worth the paper they are written on.

The FBI painted by a president as corrupt and disloyal. The intelligence community not to be trusted against the good counsel of Vladimir Putin. The press portrayed as enemies of the people….Does none of that matter anymore if heโ€™s the president of our party?

I hope and pray that we never have a president like D—- T—- in the Democratic Party. One that would betray the national interest and the countryโ€™s security to help with his reelection. And I would hope to God that if we did, we would impeach him, and Democrats would lead the way. But I suppose you never know just how difficult that is until you are confronted with it. But you, my friends, are confronted with it. You are confronted with that difficulty now and you must not shrink from it…. among you who will say enough?

America believes a thing called truth. She does not believe we are entitled to our own alternate facts. She recoils at those who spread pernicious falsehoods. To her truth matters. There is nothing more corrosive to a democracy than the idea that there is no truth.

America also believes there is a difference between right and wrong and right matters here. But there is more. Truth matters, right matters, but so does decency. Decency matters. When the president smears a patriotic public servant like Marie Yovanovitch in pursuit of a corrupt aim, we recoil…. Because decency matters and when the president tries to coerce an ally to help him cheat in our elections and then covers it up, we must say, โ€œEnough. Enough.โ€

He has betrayed our national security and he will do so again. He has compromised our elections and he will do so again. You will not change him. You cannot constrain him. He is who he is. Truth matters little to him. Whatโ€™s right matters even less and decency matters not at all. I do not ask you to convict him because truth or right or decency matters nothing to him, but because we have proven our case and it matters to you. Truth matters to you, right matters to you. You are decent. He is not who you are.

In Federalist 55, James Madison wrote that there were certain qualities in human nature, qualities I believe like honesty, right, and decency, which would justify our confidence in self government. He believed that we possessed sufficient virtue, that the chains of despotism were not necessary to restrain ourselves from destroying and devouring one another.

It may be midnight in Washington, but the sun will rise again. I put my faith in the optimism of the founders. You should too. They gave us the tools to do the job, a remedy as powerful as the evil it was meant to constrain: impeachment. They meant it to be used rarely, but they put it in the constitution for a reason. For a man who would sell out his country for a political favor, for a man who would threaten the integrity of our elections. For a man who would invite foreign interference in our affairs. For a man who would undermine our national security and that of our allies. For a man like D— J. T—-. They gave you a remedy and they meant for you to use it. They gave you an oath and they meant for you to observe it. We have proven D—- T—- guilty. Now do impartial justice and convict him.

Unquote.

For the conclusion to his remarks, please jump ahead to 20:00.

Note: The fifty-three Republican senators are expected to ignore Rep. Schiff’s remarks and vote “No” on the articles of impeachment tomorrow.